Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What is the right amount of activities for children?

It's a complicated question with a lot of different answers!

For me, I think I want to start with the end vision first. In our "Family Manifesto," Matt and I said things like:

  • "We are family that maintains a daily pace of life the allows us time to laugh together, express our love and appreciation for each other, and enjoy each other's company"
  • "We are a family that patiently supports and celebrates each other as we pursue our passions and individual interests." 
So to me that implies that we should absolutely be introducing our boys to new activities but not in a way that stresses us out or consumes our lives. It seems to easy to fill up our calendar too quickly and then to leave our family feeling stressed and/or rushed. The ideas in Simplicity Parenting really resonated with me (in fact, I need to read it again!)! I don't want to fall into the American trap of "more equals better."

The first activity we started was Aikido. Henry's teacher recommended it for him because of his issues with self-regulation. We kept him in it for about a year, but he ultimately didn't like it very much. We wanted to put him in a different activity where he could continue to practice listening to directions and following instructions, so we picked formal swimming stroke instruction. We now do this on Saturdays from 8:00am-8:30am for Tate and 8:30am-9:00am for Henry. This time works pretty well for us because it still leaves the whole day open. 

Now we have an opportunity to sign him up for ukulele lessons with one of his former teachers. It would be awesome to have her back in his life (he was SO connected to her). I'm wondering if she would let me join in the lessons, too! I would love to learn alongside Henry. Matt and I aren't very musical, so I want to make sure our children get exposed to it, despite our lack of experience/expertise.

But I want to continue to be really thoughtful and intentional about what we sign ourselves up for.

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Spike said...

Sara you might enjoy Mindful parenting- a book I just finished and appreciated on similar questions.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thank you! I'll look into it!

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